While working at a race track in the Chicagoland area a few years ago, I was talking with the head person of Facilities Management. He said something to me that I would never forget, "Tim, you can never believe you are the smartest person in the room; there will always be someone smarter." He also mentioned that I should use this train of thought as motivation to never stop learning and that people should always strive to learn and be better at their jobs.
On a recent flight home from Saratoga, Joe Kristufek, my horse racing mentor, suggested some reading material by dropping a book in my lap. With so many hours left of the flight, I decided to page through this book and found some interesting information that intrigued me. I dived right into ‘The Anatomy of Horse Race Handicapping’ by J.M. Chodkowski.
This book covers a lot of ground. Some of the topics Chodkowski discusses include:
The definitions of some horse racing lingo
- Is a gelding what I think it is?
A description of the different types of races
- Claiming, Allowance, Stakes
- Is the horse excited to race or ready to sleep?
Types of bets
- Win, Show, Exacta, Trifecta
How to read a program
- What in the world do all these numbers mean?
After only a few chapters, I realized I still had more to learn about the sport of horse racing. I was even able to teach some of the information I learned to others at the ABR Racing 101 Tent at the Pacific Classic. Someone asked me, "What is that rolled up towel on that horse’s nose?" I replied with, “It’s a shadow roll. A shadow roll restricts a horse’s vision to only see what is in front of them, rather than shadows on the ground. Essentially, this helps the horse stay focused.”
The author does an excellent job of finding a way to relate to the reader. Chodkowski’s thorough explanation makes it easier to understand a sport that is, often times, considered complicated.
If you are new to the sport of horse racing or interested in learning more about it, I recommend you check out this book.
With the ever changing landscape of all aspects of our daily lives, it is my belief that we should never stop learning. As a fan and self-appointed ambassador of horse racing, I always try to apply what the head of facilities taught me several years ago. The moment I stop learning, is the moment I stop caring.